The Refrigerated Foods Association (RFA) announced new leaders at their recent Virtual Awards Ceremony. Lauren Edmonds of St. Clair Foods will take over as President, following Josh Knott of Knott’s Foods’ term in office. Karen Bishop Carbone, Boston Salads & Prepared Foods Corporation, will serve as Vice President and Conference Chair. Tom Davis, Lakeview Farms will continue his role as Treasurer, and Mark Rosenfield of Reser’s Fine Foods will serve as the group’s Secretary and Chair of the Communications Committee.

Several Board Members were newly elected by the membership. Jeff Rhodes of Ventura Foods was elected to represent the Associate members, joining Jennifer Shrader of Atlantic Coast Marketing and Lili Lawry of PSSI. Jeff will be taking the place of David Horowitz of International Flavors & Fragrances, who completed his three-year term. Kevin Kuhlmann of Dierbergs Markets was elected to serve a three-year term, along with Chris Biba of Garden-Fresh Foods.

The RFA offers members many opportunities for involvement, including a robust index of committees. Committee chairs for the coming year include:  Wendie DiMatteo Holsinger of ASK Foods, Chair of the Membership Committee; Bill Schwartz of Schwartz Consulting and Janet Rowat Kraiss of The Suter Company, who Co-Chair the Technical Committee; Mark Rosenfield of Reser’s Fine Foods, Chair of the Communications Committee; Jennifer Shrader of Atlantic Coast Marketing, Chair of the Associates’ Committee; and Timm Miller of PSSI, Chair of the Industry Development Committee. 

The RFA’s Virtual Awards Ceremony honored several members who were particularly active and dedicated this past year. The Don Sircy Membership Award, named after the group’s founder and given each year to the Association’s most active recruiter, was awarded to Chris Staudt of Chairmans Foods.  The Outstanding Volunteer Award was given by President Josh Knott to Timm Miller of PSSI, in recognition of his exceptional dedication and advancement of the RFA’s Industry Development Committee. The Communications Committee conducted a drawing as part of their LinkedIn Campaign, and Emily Brogan of Rovema NA won a $100 gift card. The prestigious President’s Pin, which is awarded by the outgoing President to the one person who most contributed and supported him during his term, was awarded by outgoing President Josh Knott to George Bradford of Mrs. Stratton’s Salads.  Bradford served the Association as President from 2013-2015, and currently serves on the RFA Board of Directors.

Interspersed among the awards and announcements was some fun and lively entertainment, provided by talented RFA members Josh Knott and John Bowles. The atmosphere was casual and festive, and the event offered lots of laughs and great camaraderie as the group celebrated their Association’s resilience and triumph during a very challenging year. While regret was expressed about the cancellation of the in-person annual Conference, which would have occurred that week, there was a lot of hope and excitement about future in-person events. Both Josh Knott and Lauren Edmonds expressed praise for the Association, having risen to meet the challenges of this worldwide crisis. They noted how the RFA successfully found creative ways to bring people together and find solutions, with new resources and an even stronger commitment to the group’s shared vision.